- All-star entry assembled for first-ever virtual race with real-world consequences
- Real-life Overall Pro and Silver points up for grabs this Saturday
- Live race coverage on SRO’s Twitch, Youtube and Facebook accounts from 18:40 CEST
- Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series entry list: Monza
SRO Motorsports Group opens a new chapter for competitive sim racing this weekend at Monza where 24 Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS drivers and teams will battle for real-world points in the inaugural Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series event.
Saturday evening’s one-hour race, staged on Assetto Corsa Competizione at the purpose-built Fanatec Arena inside Monza’s paddock, represents motorsport’s first fully integrated crossover between virtual and real competition.
Pro and Silver class podium finishers will score either one, two or three points towards their respective real-world Overall Teams’ Championship total, meaning as many as 15 points are available across 2021’s five rounds. There’s a genuine possibility, therefore, that virtual results will decide the outcome of a real-world championship for the first time in motorsport history.
ALL-STAR CAST SUITED AND REBOOTED FOR ROUND 1
Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS features the world’s best GT drivers. So it’s little wonder that the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series entry list reads like a who’s who of international talent.
The likes of Maro Engel (Haupt Racing Team, Mercedes-AMG), Matt Campbell (GPX Racing, Porsche), Kelvin van der Linde (Team WRT, Audi), Ben Barnicoat (JOTA, McLaren), Nicklas Nielsen (Iron Lynx, Ferrari) and Mirko Bortolotti (Orange 1 FFF Racing Team, Lamborghini) are just a few of the factory stars nominated at Monza where the Silver class drivers have an equal chance of fighting for overall results.
Indeed, on paper it’s surely Ricardo Sanchez who starts Round 1 as favourite. After all, the Mexican owes his real-world career to winning the virtual GT Academy title in 2014, which resulted in a NISMO GT3 prize drive. Now representing Haupt Racing and Mercedes-AMG, the Silver class hotshot is bound to be near the front on Saturday.
Performances in 2020’s SRO Esports GT Series also suggest Barnicoat, Ezequiel Companc (Madpanda Motorsport, Mercedes-AMG) and Arthur Rougier (Emil Frey Racing, Lamborghini) will be ones to watch.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
One driver per Pro and Silver Cup team contesting Sunday’s real three-hour race will also enter Saturday evening’s qualifying session and the 60-minute Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series race. Before Friday’s practice session the 24 representatives will be each assigned a Fanatec rig for the entire season, which they can either set up using data provided by official SRO Esports partner, Coach Dave Academy, or according to their own preferences. They must also use the same manufacturer as their team has entered in real life.
Each driver must make one mandatory pitstop between minutes 25 and 35. Changing tyres is optional but at least one litre of fuel must be added. Success Ballast in the order of 30kg, 15kg and 10kg will be applied to both class’ top-three finishers for Round 2, which takes place at Circuit Paul Ricard on May 29.
SRO Esports’ official technical partner, AK Informatica, will review incidents and administer penalties if necessary, as well as publish all official results and points post-race.
Watch live race coverage in the company of David Addison and Ben Constanduros from 18:40 CEST this Saturday on SRO’s Twitch, Youtube and Facebook accounts, as well as the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS website.
FANATEC ESPORTS GT PRO SERIES TIMETABLE (CEST)
Friday 16 April
10:00 – 19:00: Free practice (maximum two hours per driver)
Saturday 17 April
17:45 – 18:15: Warm-up
18:20 – 18:40: Qualifying
18:55 – 19:55: Race (live coverage from 18:40)
Set a reminder for Saturday's live coverage by clicking below.